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February 12, 2013
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Introducing The Main Character

:icontigerfey:
TigerFey Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2013
Something I want to ask in regards to meeting the main character.

Is it wise that the main character isn't introduced till the second chapter? In my novel, supporting characters such as supporting heroes and the villains are introduced in the first chapter but the real main hero isn't met till chapter 2. Chapter 1 is more to set the world we're in.
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:iconaircatskylion:
AircatSkylion Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Do what you like and if it works then it doesn't matter if it's 'right' or not.
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:iconmondu:
mondu Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2013
Fine. Just don't do it the way Clive Barker does. Sometimes he introduces the main character a couple of hundred or so pages in. Kinda annoying because the character in the previous pages just dropped out of sight.
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:iconnishi:
nishi Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
I think it's fine. 8D Heck, you could probably focus on the villains for half a story before coming across a hero that'll get rid'a them. The reverse happens plenty often too.

I just hope it's not that kinda cliche thing where a story focuses on some scene where the viewer has no idea what's happening or who's who, and it's all basically just stuff that won't make sense until later - and theeeeen the next part has a proper introduction and story. 8D
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:iconlytrigian:
Lytrigian Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
There's nothing wrong with waiting a bit until we meet the main character. However:

Chapter 1 is more to set the world we're in.

THIS is a problem.
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:iconmemnalar:
Memnalar Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2013
Yeah, that should really be done in the prologue.

::runs, hides::
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:iconlytrigian:
Lytrigian Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
:iconhulksmashplz:
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:iconhurricaneclaw:
Hurricaneclaw Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
As long as it works, whatever.
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Do you need a whole chapter to set the stage? Is there a reason it's not done from the MC's perspective?

Bulgakov pulls it off in 'The Master and Margarita,' but I think that whole book is fairly unique.
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:iconcindertwig:
Cindertwig Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2013
Isn't a set the stage chapter called a prolouge?
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
It can be, good point!

Cf. discussion on how prologues are usually unnecessary. :B
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:iconcindertwig:
Cindertwig Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2013
Cf? anyway I like prolouges but then again I read a lot of fantasy and sci-fi and would be lost without them.
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Cross-reference. Yeah, the only time I've seen prologues at all has been epic fantasy. :B
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:iconcindertwig:
Cindertwig Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2013
Indeed, hell Tolkien made an entire book his prolouge (the Simmarillion).
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
:lol: at that point we call it a prequel! But yeah, also the appendices after the book. Probably because there's so much world building.
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:iconcindertwig:
Cindertwig Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2013
Well the book isn't really a prequel since it is basically a fact book about a fantasy world. :)
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(1 Reply)
:icondr-vergissmeinnicht:
Dr-Vergissmeinnicht Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
but mom, how will my readers know about the setting if I don't use an entire chapter?
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
They won't...and it doesn't matter :iconwooooplz:
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:iconkyteglory:
KyteGlory Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2013
B-but my very special and unique fantasy world which eerily resembles Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings but is totally unique and special and everybody cares about it because elves!!!
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:iconsaintartaud:
saintartaud Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2013  Professional General Artist
:lol:!
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
:iconbangkillplz:
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:icondr-vergissmeinnicht:
Dr-Vergissmeinnicht Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
;P
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
:lol:
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:icondamonwakes:
DamonWakes Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2013   Writer
How do you think your story might suffer as a result of not introducing the main character in the very first chapter?

I ask this both as a reminder that, actually, it doesn't necessarily matter, and as a serious question to consider. I wouldn't usually think of this a problem, but if you're only following this character ("third person specific," as *NobleQueenOfLothaire described) then readers may wonder why the first chapter followed different characters. It doesn't sound like you're planning to do that, but it's the sort of thing that might be an issue.
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:iconpuppy-dangerous:
puppy-dangerous Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2013  Professional Artisan Crafter
Do what is best for the story.

Personally, I prefer books that set up the world before introducing characters. You know those books with three chapters explaining history and technology before they even start to get somewhere within sight of the story? Yeah, that's what I like. In fact, there are a ton of books that I have read through the part where they build the world...then gotten bored with the characters and never finished reading.

If you want it to be a fast, easy read, then stick the main character right up there in the beginning.

If you're writing something more complex, where you want the reader to be absorbed in your world rather than interested in one character, then you can wait to introduce them.
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:icontigerfey:
TigerFey Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2013
Thanks for the info so far. The reason why the main character isn't introduced till the second chapter is because they're part of a "discovery" by the villains.
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:iconvglory:
vglory Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2013
Are you sure the villains aren't your protagonists?
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:icontigerfey:
TigerFey Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2013
Very sure. It's one of those "the villains pretend to be the good guys to gain trust and use the others to their advantage".
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:iconvglory:
vglory Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2013
I ask because generally the MC discovering the evil plot is more important than vice versa.
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:icontigerfey:
TigerFey Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2013
Well the MC does fine out the evil plot afterward and must seek out help to stop them.
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:iconvglory:
vglory Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2013
I understand, but you think the first important plot point is the villain discovering an obstacle to their goals. That is an unusual choice outside of a murder mystery.
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:icondr-vergissmeinnicht:
Dr-Vergissmeinnicht Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Alright....It is never a good idea to tell us everything about the setting in the first chapter...the fun part of reading is gradually learning more about the information, set and characters. It also depends on how you are Narrating the story. There are three types of third person narration.

1. Third person specific where we rely on information given from one person (Main character)

2. Third Person Alternating, where information is given from multiple main characters. This type usually leaves out the small characters.

3. Third person omnipotent where information can be given from the hobo on the side of the road. This isn't really popular.

Now if your main character is going to be the primary source of information and action then he/she needs to be introduced in the first chapter. If other characters are going to reveal information where the main character isn't going to be present then yes you can wait till the 2nd chapter.
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:iconvglory:
vglory Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2013
All other things being equal, it is good to introduce the MC immediately. These days novels general skip the "ordinary life"/"scene setting" chapter as they lack a hook.

That said, anything is okay if you do it well.
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:iconbalaria:
Balaria Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
As long as the events in the first chapter are still interesting and pertinent to the story I don't see a problem with introducing the main character in the second chapter.
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